IHC empowers Punjab to take decision on suspension of Nawaz's sentence.


Byline: Malik Asad

ISLAMABAD -- The Islamabad High Court issued on Wednesday a detailed order on the petition for release of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, empowering the Punjab government to take a decision on suspension of his sentence on its own while keeping in view his medical condition.

An IHC division bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani had on Oct 29 through a short order granted bail to ailing Nawaz Sharif for eight weeks by suspending his sentence but enabling him to get the bail extended in accordance with the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and jail manual.

In the detailed judgement, the court said: 'In case the health of petitioner No. 2 [Nawaz Sharif] does not improve and he needs further medical attention, the Government of Punjab may, on its own, decide the issue regarding suspension of the sentence. Even otherwise, petitioner No. 2 may approach the Government of Punjab under Section 401(2) CrPC. In case of non-exercise of duty by the Government of Punjab or misuse of the discretion or exercise of the same in an arbitrary and whimsical manner, the matter can be agitated before the Court of law for appropriate remedy.'

Court issues detailed order on petition seeking release of former prime minister

The issue cropped up during the course of arguments on whether or not the executive had the powers to suspend the sentence of a prisoner.

Additional prosecutor general of the National Accountability Bureau Jahanzeb Khan Bharwana had contended that the executive did have the authority under Section 401 of the CrPC, 1898.

It was submitted that since Mr Sharif had been serving sentence at Kot Lakhpat jail, Lahore, the Punjab government shall be the executive authority exercising the powers under Section 401 of the CrPC.

Lead defence counsel Khawaja Haris conceded that the relevant executive authority in the instant case shall be the government of Punjab, but expressed reservations over referring the matter to the executive on account of the fact that the present government was a political rival of the petitioner.

The court in its detailed judgement observed: 'The medical condition of petitioner No. 2, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, as per medical reports, has been critical since October 21, 2019 till to-date...The conclusion of the [Medical] Board reads as follows: The Special Medical Board is of the considered opinion that due to severe existent co-morbid conditions like Diabetes...

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